You could say Manchester stage and screen star David Warner has enjoyed a varied career.
His roles stretch all the way from playing Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company to appearing in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of Ooze!
He’s portrayed the Klingon Chancellor Gorkon on the big screen in Star Trek, Pomponius Falco in the award-winning TV mini-series Masada and the ill-fated photographer who foresees his own death in horror movie The Omen.
As well as playing romantic leads, Warner has often been cast as a film villain. He was the Jack the Ripper pursued by Malcolm McDowell as H. G. Wells in Time After Time and Prussian spy Sir Edmund Appleton in The 39 Steps.
Warner came to a grisly end falling into a vat of boiling wax as evil exhibit master David Lincoln in the cult horror classic Waxwork in 1988 and was possessed by a haunted mirror in the 1974 British movie From Beyond the Grave.
Warner achieved movie prominence when he played Morgan Delt in the 1966 comedy Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment.
Directed by Karel Reisz, the film tells the story of a failed artist (Delt) trapped in a fantasy world during a contentious divorce from his wife Leonie, played by Vanessa Redgrave.
Delt dreams up a number of surreal stunts aimed at winning Leonie back, including putting a gorilla in her bed and then blowing the bed up!
He hires a wrestler (Arthur Mullard) to kidnap Leonie, but when that goes wrong he’s sent to prison. Delt escapes and gate-crashes Leonie’s wedding dressed in a gorilla suit.
After trying to flee the scene on a motorcycle, he’s captured again and this time committed to an insane asylum.
Warner earned a BAFTA nomination for his performance which added a new dimension to his acting career as his first home had primarily been the stage.
Born in Manchester in July 1941, Warner is the son of Ada Doreen (nee Hattersley) and nursing home proprietor Herbert Simon Warner.
After school productions, Warner studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) before making his professional stage debut in 1962.
His first role was Snout in the English Stage Company’s version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at London’s Royal Court Theatre.
After joining the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1963, Warner played Henry IV in the Wars of the Roses trilogy and then the title role in Richard II.
Warner played Hamlet with the RSC in 1965 at the age of 25. Ophelia was portrayed by Glenda Jackson, who would win her first Oscar four years later for her performance as Gudrun Brangwen in Ken Russell’s film Women in Love.
In 1968, Warner starred alongside another RSC leading actress, Helen Mirren, in the theatre company’s first colour film A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Our photo shows Warner as Lysander and Mirren as Hermia shooting scenes on the Compton Verney estate. Ian Holm portrayed Puck, Diana Rigg was Helena and Judi Dench was Queen Titania.
One of Warner’s earliest TV roles saw him cast alongside American folk-music legend Bob Dylan in the 1963 play Madhouse on Castle Street.
Dylan played a reclusive lodger who decided to lock himself away from the world, communicating through his music. Unfortunately, all recordings of the play have been lost. Only a few fragments of Dylan’s songs remain.
In 1968, Warner starred as Valentine Brose alongside singer Cilla Black in the futuristic satirical comedy Work Is a Four-Letter Word.
Although it was adapted from the award-winning play Eh? by Henry Livings, the film got a lukewarm reception from the critics.
Warner appeared with Salford actor Robert Powell in the 1978 film version of John Buchan’s thriller The 39 Steps. Powell was the hero Robert Hannay, while Warner played the villainous Prussian sympathiser Sir Edmund Appleton.
Perhaps one of Warner’s most disturbing roles was that of photographer Keith Jennings in the influential 1976 horror film The Omen, the story of Antichrist Damien Thorn being born to America’s UK ambassador Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck).
Jennings develops rolls of film which capture shadows across victims foretelling their death. One of the movie’s most chilling moments is when he shows Thorn a line through his own neck!
More recently, Warner played Professor Grisenko in the 2013 Doctor Who episode Cold War and Professor Abraham Van Helsing in the 2014 Gothic horror TV series Penny Dreadful.